How Lactoferrin Helps Prevent Iron Deficiency Anemia in Pregnancy
If you’re pregnant, you need more vitamins and nutrients to support the significant changes in your body and the growing needs of the developing baby inside you.
One of the persistent worldwide nutrient deficiencies during pregnancy is iron deficiency anemia (IDA). It is a condition in which there are insufficient healthy red blood cells to carry enough oxygen to your body’s tissues due to a lack of iron.
Women, in general, are more vulnerable to iron deficiency anemia due to menstrual blood loss. The risk increases even more during pregnancy as blood volume increases by about 20-30% when you’re pregnant and so does the amount of iron you need.
If pregnant women do not have enough iron in their diet, they may develop iron deficiency anemia, which can lead to serious health complications for both the mother and baby.
Why adequate iron intake is important during pregnancy
Iron is an essential mineral since your body uses it to make hemoglobin, a protein in the red blood cells that carries oxygen to your body’s tissues, and to make some hormones. It is also essential for the healthy growth and development of the unborn baby in the womb.
However, many pregnant women lack a sufficient amount of iron commonly during the second and third trimesters.
Severe iron deficiency anemia may lead to increased blood loss during labor and makes it hard for you to fight infections while increasing the risk of premature birth, low birth weight, and poor newborn health. It may also lead to postpartum depression. Some studies also show an increased risk of maternal and infant illness and death.
What is lactoferrin and how it helps with iron deficiency anemia
Lactoferrin is a protein found in milk and other body fluids. It binds to iron and makes it more available for absorption by the body. It also helps to recycle iron that would otherwise be lost through the shedding of cells in the gut or urine.
This means that lactoferrin can help to ensure that pregnant women have enough iron available for their growing babies. In addition, lactoferrin has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, which can help to protect the mother and baby from infection.
Is lactoferrin better than iron supplements?
To cure ID and IDA in pregnancy, pregnant women are routinely prescribed to take "ferrous sulfate” or oral iron supplements.
However, iron supplements can cause gastrointestinal side effects, such as constipation and nausea. They can also be difficult to absorb.
So, lactoferrin, particularly bovine lactoferrin, may be a better option for preventing iron deficiency anemia in pregnancy, as it has been found to be better tolerated and more easily absorbed by the body.
In addition, studies have found that lactoferrin is more effective than various inorganic and organic iron formulas when it comes to improving serum iron, ferritin, and hemoglobin levels, with fewer gastrointestinal effects.
Its high efficacy can be attributed to the fact that iron deficiency cannot be solely blamed for the occurrence of anemia. Chronic inflammation is also a big factor for anemia since it affects how iron is absorbed and transported in our bodies. This usually happens in women with chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes.
Lactoferrin not only facilitates the delivery of iron but also has high anti-inflammatory properties and thus regulates systemic iron metabolism.
Can you take iron and lactoferrin together?
Yes, lactoferrin and iron can be taken together. In fact, lactoferrin can help increase the absorption of iron, making it more effective in treating or preventing iron deficiency anemia.
However, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider before beginning any supplementation.
What kind of lactoferrin should I choose?
For pregnant women, studies support the use of bovine lactoferrin (BLTF) as an oral supplement in the treatment of iron deficiency anemia.
BLTF shares 70% similarity with the amino acid sequence of the human milk-derived lactoferrin with very much alike functionalities. It is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for use in the human diet.
What are the common side effects?
When lactoferrin is taken in excessive doses, common side effects can occur.
Many studies on lactoferrin have reported no apparent side effects from taking it. However, in one small, 30-day human trial, a few participants taking lactoferrin reported:
- Stomach pain
How do you take lactoferrin?
Lactoferrin can be taken in capsule form, although it is also available in powder form. To take lactoferrin in capsule form, take 1 to 2 capsules, twice a day. If you are taking the powder form, mix ¼ teaspoon (500 mg) of lactoferrin powder with a glass of water, juice, or smoothie. You can also add lactoferrin to other foods such as yogurt, cereal, or salad.
Where to buy lactoferrin?
Lactoferrin.co is a trusted manufacturer and distributor of pure native bovine lactoferrin used for supplements, research, and custom health formulas. Visit lactoferrin.co to shop now.